Like baseball or going to the mall, it’s practically an American past-time to complain about utility companies. From high prices to less-than-awesome customer service, energy companies are prime targets for consumers who simply can’t help giving grief to the business that keeps the lights on.
For Stream Energy, however, a retail electricity provider, customers are thrilled with what the company has done in the past few years to make them happy. Well-reviewed and gaining in popularity, Stream Energy now stands on its own amongst the competition.
So, what exactly happened to make customers fall in love with Stream Energy’s offerings in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and beyond? Here’s a list of company milestones that the Dallas-based energy provider did to deliver the goods and win hearts and minds.
Embraced Green Energy
In 2012, Stream Energy made a bold, new move by completely embracing green energy. The retail energy supplier already had a big footprint in many states, but by offering Renewable Energy Certificates, all as part of the company’s Clean Nation initiative, Stream Energy showed the country – and world – it was serious about saving the planet.
“With this new renewable energy product, Stream Energy has the potential to introduce many new households and businesses to clean, renewable wind power” says Alex Pennock, Manager of Green-e Energy, at the time. “By increasing voluntary demand for green power, Stream Energy is helping move us closer to a cleaner, greener future.”
As the years past, Stream Energy began offering clean energy plans for customers. But beyond that, they also began offering an enhancement to the company’s popular plans, the eco+ add-on.
Customers can start by adding eco+ to their existing plans, especially ones offering energy created through traditional methods and fossil fuels. With the eco+ plan, customers pay a monthly feel, and Stream Energy will buy renewable energy to offset each customer’s carbon footprint. This means that if a customer uses 1,500 kWh of traditional energy, the renewable energy provider will buy 1,000 kWh of solar, wind or other types of energy.
This new feature, considered revolutionary by energy journalists, could be turned on or off at any time. Customers who aren’t certain of the program’s impact are told that the 1,000 kWh is the equivalent of the carbon absorbed by more than 230 trees, both planted, and grown, for about a decade.
Other Stream Energy eco-moves included their 100% renewable energy plans, which allowed customers to only use energy from wind or solar. Even if customers increased their usage, the Green & Clean 12 plan, in particular, would use the same rate.
Expanded into Ohio
Like many states in America, moving over to green energy has been a struggle. To create massive amounts of energy for large or urban areas, private companies typically build massive solar or wind farms, receiving credits or tax bonuses for adding this green energy infrastructure.
For some states, this has been easier than most. Nevada, for instance, boasts solar and wind, because the state has wide swaths of land that are just open and waiting for development.
For Stream Energy, moving into Ohio was a brilliant move that happened at the right time. Just a few years ago, Ohio was struggling to keep up with much of the rest of America in regards to clean energy. The state was being left behind.
Government officials were not sure whether to offer bailouts for nuclear and coal plants, and green energy activists accused the state and local governments of constantly moving the goalposts for clean energy manufacturers. In other words, green energy companies wanted to build infrastructure, but were afraid the rules would change before they finished.
Once the Ohio government passed a bill to generate green energy, specifically to be offered at a discount to retail energy providers – Stream included – the retail electricity provider quickly jumped on the opportunity to deliver energy to some of the most populated regions of the state.
“I’m thrilled to be expanding our energy business into a large state like Ohio. As we move deeper into the Midwest, we’re seeing unbelievable opportunity to introduce more customers to not just our services, but who we are as a company,” said Chief Executive Officer Larry Mondry at the time. “And after this expansion, more great things are on the horizon for Stream. This is going to be a fantastic year.”
So far, Stream Energy is offering reduced rates for Ohio residents in multiple territories: Ohio American Electric Power (AEP), the First Energy territories of Toledo Edison, Ohio Edison and the Illuminating Company, and even the territories of Dayton Power & Light, and Duke energy.
While green energy is not the primary service offered by Stream Energy, the retail electricity provider is offering fixed rates for both 12 months and 24 months. This means Ohio residents can lock down a per kWh rate for a year or two, and even if the customer increases energy use, the rate stays the same for the length of the contract.
Ohio is now part of Stream Energy’s formidable territory, which includes Texas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Delaware, New York and Illinois.
Appointed an Experienced and Well-Regarded CFO
It’s no secret that Stream Energy executives – and employees – want to grow the company beyond their current list of states. But in order for a retail electricity provider to grow, great leadership must be placed at the top of the company.
David Faranetta is part of that leadership.
Starting as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2017, Faranetta brought a long track record of strong leadership within the energy industry. He previously served as Senior VP and CFO at TXU Energy, where he was responsible for supporting the company’s natural gas arm. He also made huge strides in other areas at TXU, from boosting employee retention and morale to bringing customer service satisfaction up to almost 100%. Under Faranetta’s leadership, the electricity provider saw an increase of more than $30 million in profit.
Before joining Stream Energy, the retail energy provider, Faranetta also shone at Luminant, a Vistra Energy subsidiary. While at Luminant, where he served at CFO and SVP, he chose – handpicked, actually – more than 100 employees who were not only charged with improving culture in the workplace, but keeping productivity high and employee churn low. Faranetta was also chosen to develop a succession plan.
It didn’t take long to show that Faranetta was the right choice. At Luminant, he decreased company costs by 10%. In the meantime, company revenue shot up by 6%. His other feat? Managing the company’s massive $1 billion+ 401k program, with more than 10,000 employee stakeholders as participants.
Faranetta’s Texas roots helped him bone up on what needed to be done at Stream Energy long before he arrived at the company. When he joined the retail electricity provider, he admitted he spent years watching Stream Energy grow and change. By the time he joined Stream Energy, he already had a plan for growing and leading the company.
“I’m extremely pleased to welcome David to our team,” said CEO Larry Mondry when Faranetta joined the company. “His long industry experience is of utmost value to our organization and his contributions are going to play a major role in shaping a bright future for Stream.”
Since joining Stream Energy, Faranetta has used his experience and knowledge to work on risk management, mergers and acquisitions, and even regulatory and board regulations. His work proves that Stream Energy wants to increase its footprint, and mergers and acquisitions could play a role in this long-term strategy.
Took Women Seriously
For more than five years, women within Stream Energy have gathered together to support female associates in the company. The purpose? Help Independent Associates within the retail electricity company grow professionally and personally. Although the group started out relatively small, it has since blossomed, welcoming a large number of female Stream Associates to annual retreats that feature everything from panels to presentations, focusing on building a business, and developing a mindset that invites success. Their fifth annual retreat, which happened in July of last year, saw members attending training seminars, workshops and networking events. The name of the retail energy provider’s retreat? Women of Power.
“Overall, this was one of our most impactful retreats to date,”said Stream’s Director of Events, Chelsey Berend. “The guest speakers, our leader panels, the workshops—each segment delivered invaluable skills and messages our Associates need to grow their businesses. These women are leaving Savannah with a powerful call to action to finish 2018 strong.”
Locked Down Rates
One of the biggest unknowns facing utility customers is how much their bill will be each month. Although many consumers understand that their bill will probably fall within a certain range, it’s not entirely unusual to face a massive bill during the coldest winter months, or when the air conditioner is running, almost non-stop, during the summer.
Executives at Stream Energy understand the fear behind this unknown factor, so they’ve created pricing plans where users can lock down a per kWh price and enjoy that price for one or two years. These fixed-rate plans have grown increasingly popular with the retail energy provider’s customers, especially in areas like Texas, Ohio and other states.
Fixed-rate plans have grown in popularity because they essentially protect from market fluctuations in price. When power plants close or are shut down, energy prices go up. With fixed-rate plans, the set price for kWh stays the same, even when prices go up across the market or even just locally, thanks to a hotter than usual summer or deep freeze of a winter.
When some electricity provides can’t keep up with demand, they tend to drop out of the market, leaving customers no choice but to be pushed over to another provider. Thanks to the closures of the other energy providers, the new provider raises prices to make up for the closed providers. Fixed-rate plans can prevent this.
Started a Philanthropic Arm
When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and other parts of the country, Houston and the coast region was hit particularly hard. From flooding to a seemingly never ending torrent of rain, the people of Texas faced a crisis most residents had never faced before in their entire lives.
Stream Energy sprung to the rescue, donating $25,000 to the American Red Cross. But the retail energy provider did even more, waiving late fees on energy invoices. For those who already paid late fees during the time of the hurricane, Stream credited those fees back to the accounts of customers.
Disconnections were also stopped for people in the region. Rather than worry about paying their bill, this allowed Stream Energy customers to focus on the challenges ahead of them: finding new housing, rebuilding and drying out flooded homes, and even locating missing friends and relatives.
Stream Energy also helped out during Hurricane Irma, dropping long distance call rates for customers affected by the storm.
All of this was rolled up into the retail electricity provider’s philanthropic arm, Stream Cares. Another project by Stream Cares is the company’s annual Splash for Hope, where Stream and its partner, Hope Supply Co., pay for homeless children in North Texas to visit a Hawaiian Falls waterpark.
Hope Supply Co., based in Dallas, is a nonprofit devoted to impoverished children, and through their fundraising with Stream Energy, are able to give children a day of fun and laughter, along with a lunch, flip flops, and a hat.
Went Beyond Energy
Many people know of Stream Energy, thanks to the retail energy provider’s offerings of green and traditional energy to more than eight states. But Stream Energy offers more than just electricity for customers outside of the states where energy is offered, customers as far as California can enjoy wireless service and a suite of other services that just make life that much more connected.
With Stream’s wireless service, customers can enjoy unlimited text, data and talk, 4G LTE data speeds, no contracts, wifi calling, a mobile hotspot and even a way to use your own phone number and device.
Stream Energy is already seeing major praise for their work, services and philanthropy, through world of mouth and other ways. As an award-winning company, Stream Energy was recently singled out as one of the top 10 Most Trusted Retail Electric Providers in Texas. When customers were asked to rate 52 retail energy providers, Stream Energy handily made it into the top 10.
The retail electricity provider has been validated by customers as one of the most trusted energy providers across the country.
Now, Stream Energy is also known as one of the most reliable retail energy providers, bar none, expanding from just an energy company to a giant in the wireless cell services and tech sectors. With continued growth on the horizon and new initiatives to please both customers and employees, look for Stream Energy to grow, expand, and continue to stay popular into the future.